“The duke and duchess have confirmed to Her Majesty The Queen that they will not be returning as working members of the royal family,” Buckingham Palace said in a statement on Friday, February 19.
As a result, the monarch made the decision to sever the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s links to their royal and military patronages.
“Following conversations with The Duke, The Queen has written confirming that in stepping away from the work of The Royal Family it is not possible to continue with the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service. The honorary military appointments and Royal patronages held by The Duke and Duchess will therefore be returned to Her Majesty, before being redistributed among working members of The Royal Family.”
A statement from the palace added that they are “saddened,” but the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will “remain much-loved members of the family.”
Minutes after the palace made this groundbreaking announcement, Meghan, 39, and Harry, 36, issued their own statement. “As evidenced by their work over the past year, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex remain committed to their duty and service to the U.K. and around the world and have offered their continued support to the organizations they have represented regardless of official role,” the statement read. “We can all live a life of service. Service is universal.”
Following the Queen’s decision, Prince Harry lost his three honorary military titles of Captain-General of the Royal Marines, Honorary Air Force Commandant of RAF base Honington and Honorary Commodore-in-Chief of Small Ships and Diving.
He also had to relinquish his links to patronages passed on to him by other members of the Royal Family — The Rugby Football Union and The Rugby Football League.
Similarly, Meghan lost the two patronages inherited from the Queen in January 2019 — the National Theatre and the Association of Commonwealth Universities. Moreover, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will no longer be President and Vice President of the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust.
Many of the organizations losing Meghan and Harry as their patrons have reacted to Buckingham Palace’s statement.
The National Theatre, which prior to the Duchess had been represented by the Queen for 45 years, said, “The National Theatre is very grateful for the support offered by The Duchess of Sussex throughout the course of her patronage. The Duchess championed our work with communities and young people across the U.K., and our mission to make theatre accessible to all.”
Meanwhile, the Rugby Football Union wrote on Twitter: “Prince Harry will be stepping down from his role as RFU Patron. We would like to thank Prince Harry for his time and commitment to the RFU both in his position as Patron and Vice Patron.”
In March 2020, the L.A. transplants — who share son Archie and are expecting their second child later this year — announced they would be “stepping back” from some of their duties to become “financially independent.”
The Duke and Duchess can no longer represent the Crown and the Queen and have been asked not to use their HRH titles.